England’s World Cup selection puzzle just got harder, given some of the individual performances in the T20I series sweep against West Indies, Trevor Bayliss says.
Bayliss said England’s selectors were closer to deciding their squad of 15, due to be named by April 23 but which can be changed up until May 22, eight days before the tournament starts. However, he believed their job had been made more complicated following a comprehensive 3-0 series victory over the T20 World Champions, who were bowled out for 45 and 71 in the last two matches.
“It is, which is fantastic, that’s exactly what we wanted,” Bayliss told Sky Sports. “Long-term for England the more players and the more depth that we’ve got, that’s just good for England cricket. It puts a little bit of pressure on from within.”
Bayliss was particularly pleased with how some players had responded to talk of Jofra Archer’s possible selection once the Barbados-born bowler qualifies to represent England under ECB residence rules.
Before doing his best to press his case by taking 4 for 7 off three overs to lead England to an eight-wicket rout of West Indies in the final T20 match, David Willey had questioned whether Archer’s inclusion could destabilise a squad which had been together for some time.
“Just recently there’s been a bit of talk about Jofra Archer playing and it’s great to see two or three of our guys that are in the team respond positively to that challenge,” Bayliss said.
“I think we’re getting down fairly close to that 15. It’s going to make our job just that little bit harder with some of the performances in this T20 series. Obviously the World Cup is a 50-over competition, but we’re going to have to have a good, hard, long chat about that World Cup squad.”
Bayliss said one-dayers against Ireland and Pakistan before the World Cup would be pivotal in finalising selection and presenting an opportunity to rest some players who were assured of a berth.
Also thrusting himself into the spotlight during the T20s against West Indies was Chris Jordan, who took 2 for 16 and 4 for 6 in the first two matches and whose athletic fielding proved highly valuable.
Bayliss rated Jordan’s performance as “fantastic” and said the door had not closed on the 30-year-old’s career in ODIs or Tests despite not having played an ODI since 2016 and the last of his eight Tests in 2015.
“He’s played both before so he’s certainly got it within him and if he takes some confidence away from the way he’s bowled in these T20s there’s no reason he can’t [return],” Bayliss said. “He’s been a good player for us in the T20 cricket for a while now, not just his bowling but his fielding, he’s probably our best fielder and he’s shown throughout these three T20 matches that catches can win matches for you.”
Bayliss said while he was comfortable with England being branded favourites for the World Cup, his side still had plenty of work to do.
“The bouncier wickets are probably our biggest challenge at the moment,” Bayliss said. “Our batting has been our strength over the last three or four years. Our fielding has improved, but I always think we can get better as a fielding team.
“Our bowlers, I think, have been unheralded. The batters have taken a little bit of the spotlight away from the bowlers but as a group of bowlers I think they’ve done fantastically well. It’s good to see during this T20 series it’s the bowlers who have been the ones that have actually set it up for us.”